Police claim release of kidnapped Chibok schoolgirl

Chibok girlsNigeria’s police on Thursday claimed that one of more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants nearly six months ago had been found, but elders rejected the claim.

National police spokesman Emmanuel Ojokwu said the girl was “dropped off by suspected Boko Haram militants at Mubi in Adamawa state” at about 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday.

“The information we have is that she is one of the abducted girls. Other details will be made known to you in due course,” he said, adding the girl was aged 20 and receiving medical treatment.

But Enoch Mark, an elder from the kidnapped schoolgirls’ hometown of Chibok in northeast Borno State, told AFP that the name the girl gave was not among the 219 missing.

“Her name is not on the list so we don’t know,” said Mark, who had seen the girl in the Adamawa state capital, Yola.

“She’s in trauma. She couldn’t speak. We picked her up in the bush. We suspected that she was one of the abducted girls. But she’s not from Chibok. The police officer made a mistake.”

Mark suggested that the girl was local to Mubi and had now been handed over to military personnel in Yola.

The mass abduction in Chibok triggered global condemnation and a social media campaign that forced the Nigerian government into accepting foreign help to locate their whereabouts.

Nearly six months on and despite the country’s military claiming that they had located the girls, they are still being held captive.

Talks between the government and the militants about a possible prisoner swap for the hostages have stalled.

Hopes were raised on Tuesday when the military in Abuja initially confirmed reports that 37 of the missing girls had been released, only to retract its statement moments later.

Mark, whose own daughter is among the captives, two other Chibok elders and a Borno State government official said at the time that although the 37 were from the town, they were not from those still missing.

Instead, they were being taken under military escort to Kaduna state to continue their schooling.

President Goodluck Jonathan told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that authorities were still working to free the girls.

Jonathan has been criticized at home and abroad for his slow response to the kidnapping in the rural northeast and for his inability to quell the violence by the Islamist militant group.

“Although it has been over three months since they were abducted, we have never relented in our efforts to set them safely free,” Jonathan told the 193-member world body.

“Together with our partners, we are working assiduously to free our daughters and reunite them with their families,’ he said. ‘We shall not waiver until we end this mindless war on the innocent and bring all the perpetrators to justice.”